2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The Hyundai Veloster is indeed an automotive oddball, and that's part of the reason why we're so drawn to it. Even in base form, the Veloster is a cleverly packaged little wonder that's bursting with personality, and with the added grunt and visual aggression of the Turbo model, there's a lot to talk about.

Despite not really fitting into any one specific vehicle segment (unless you dump it into the all-too-vague "compact" class), the Veloster Turbo looks really good on paper, to say nothing of how it looks on the street. It's certainly a head-turner, and we're intrigued by the overall package of an oddly shaped three-door (or four-door?) with some forced induction motivation.

We've had a lot to say about the weird little Hyundai in the past, and we don't see the conversations about this car ending anytime soon. Thus, we've welcomed a matte gray example into the Autoblog long-term garage for one year of testing. This should definitely be interesting.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Having the Veloster Turbo coated in matte gray adds another $1,000 to the car's bottom line.

So... matte gray. This is Hyundai's first endeavor into the world of matte paint finishes, and the automaker knows that it won't be for everyone. Having the Veloster Turbo coated in matte gray adds another $1,000 to the car's bottom line, and it requires a whole lot of special care. Basically, you can't take it through a car wash; you need to clean off road debris, tree sap and bird poo as soon as possible; and you can only use specific types of cleaners and towels when it comes time to give the car a thorough wash.

Upon purchase, Hyundai will provide customers with a special pack of matte paint cleaning products from Dr. Beasley's, and we've been given a kit of our own to ensure that we keep the gray finish in tip-top shape. We've already gone through the process of washing the Veloster Turbo once and, well, we'll save the full story for one of our monthly updates. We're going to try really, really hard not to wreck that pretty finish.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Our primary reason for getting the matte paint: to see just how much of a pain in the butt it is to live with through all four seasons.

Our primary reason for getting the matte paint: to see just how much of a pain in the butt it is to live with through all four seasons. As you can see in these photos, the car is currently running through a cold, slushy, snowy Detroit winter, where the hazards of grime and road salt will be of particular interest when it comes time to test the car's cleanability. Stay tuned for more on that.

Paint aside, the Veloster's visuals will no doubt be one of the biggest talking points over our year with the car. Already, this thing is turning heads left and right, and while we're finding that the majority of folks love the way it looks, there's no middle ground with this one. If you don't love it, you hate it. We have yet to meet someone who's on the fence about that one.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Moving inside, that cool exterior appearance carries over with a two-tone blue and black color scheme and plenty of visual flare. There are all sorts of curves and angles and odd shapes happening inside the car, though none sacrifices overall comfort or available amenities. We don't need to discuss the rear seats with the third door access yet again, but we'll be listening carefully to how passengers perceive the convenience of adding a sort of trap door to this svelte hatchback.

The final, as-tested price is a cool $27,250, including the $775 destination charge.

We've loaded our car up with all the bells and whistles, meaning the final, as-tested price is a cool $27,250, including the $775 destination charge. That means our car has Hyundai's $2,500 Ultimate Package that includes a panoramic sunroof, automatic headlamps, navigation system with a rear-view camera, and reverse warning sensors. On top of that, we ordered the optional carpeted floor mats ($95) and the stickier 18-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport 215/40-series summer tires ($1,200). Since we're still trudging through the cold of winter here in Detroit, we've left the car's stock Kumho Solus KH25 all-season tires on the car for now, but come spring, we'll be interested to see how the better rubber changes the car's performance chops.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Speaking of performance, like we said, the Veloster Turbo sure looks good on paper. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four, good for 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That's plenty of grunt for a car that only weighs 2,800 pounds. A Volkswagen GTI with 207 hp and 200 lb-ft weighs in at 3,034 pounds in base form, but while the GTI is a proven hot hatch wonder, this is Hyundai's first attempt at a turbocharged front-wheel-drive sports car. Looks like a proper comparison test may be in order.

We'll be nitpicking every facet of the Veloster's performance and everyday livability in our monthly updates.

We opted to spec our Veloster Turbo with the standard six-speed manual transmission rather than the conventional six-speed automatic (note: the Turbo does not use the same dual-clutch tranny as the naturally aspirated Veloster) since, well, it'll likely be more fun. In creating the Turbo model, Hyundai left the car's suspension tuning from the base model alone, though things like the steering, exhaust note, intake tuning and front brakes have been upgraded for this more potent hatch.

We'll be nitpicking every facet of the Veloster's performance and every day livability in our monthly updates, so stay tuned for the first one to hit in about one month's time. For now, follow along on our Facebook and Twitter pages for on-the-fly musings about our matte gray long-termer.